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Cultural Awareness

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Cultural implications in corporate environment and how to create awareness in today's diversed working environment b

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Cultural Awareness

  1. 1. CULTURAL AWARENESS Russell Harlow, Principal Consultant TMA World
  2. 2. 2 A Global Village? Rationale A Global Village? A Flat World? ……………………… In reality, not yet!
  3. 3. 3 Why? The Reality • Our customers, suppliers, colleagues, and strategic partners are increasingly global and diverse. We must understand – and adapt to – their worldviews so that we can work with them most effectively. • Our competitive advantage is tied increasingly to innovation, problem-solving, and intellectual capital. We must have the diverse perspectives and talents to meet this challenge. • Our ability to attract and retain diverse perspectives and talents is not enough to succeed. These perspectives and talents must be able to work together. We must develop the attitudes, awareness, knowledge, and skills to enable collaboration across borders.
  4. 4. 4 The Relationship Challenge in a Diverse World FEELINGS BEHAVIORS THOUGHTS BEHAVIORS THOUGHTS FEELINGS Acting Out Of Habit Acting Out Of Choice VALUING DIVERSITY CREATING WINS Customers BUSINESS RESULTS Colleagues Partners FROM FOR TO
  5. 5. CULTURE IS…?
  6. 6. 6 Culture Matters • The way we do things around here • The operating system of the group • The personality of the group • Culture: • The learned set of assumptions, attitudes, expectations, values, beliefs, and behaviors that distinguish one group of people from another.
  7. 7. 7 Our Invisible Teacher Culture • Culture teaches us how to • think, feel, believe and value... • All groups develop a common system • which tells us:  What to pay attention to  What we ignore  What’s right  What’s wrong  What’s good  What’s bad
  8. 8. CULTURES SHARE THE SAME PROBLEMS; IT’S THEIR SOLUTIONS WHICH DIFFER…
  9. 9. 9 The complexity of cultural difference National Culture Local Culture Team Culture Industry Culture Professional Culture Organizational Culture Regional Culture Business Unit Culture Generation Sexual Orientation Family Culture Ethnic Culture Gender
  10. 10. 10 The Danger Zone: Stereotypes STEREOTYPES The Closed Circle Closed to information on individual variations TENDENCIES The Open Circle Open to information on individual variations MODIFIABLEFIXED
  11. 11. 11 The Closed Circle Cultural Stereotypes ALL Americans are only interested in work !
  12. 12. 12 The Closed Circle Cultural Stereotypes ALL Americans are only interested in work ! Our suppliers in China never deliver on time!
  13. 13. 13 The Closed Circle Cultural Stereotypes ALL Americans are only interested in work ! Our suppliers in China never deliver on time! Everyone in Japan is indecisive!
  14. 14. 14 The Open Circle Cultural Tendencies Some Americans are only interested in work ..
  15. 15. 15 The Open Circle Cultural Tendencies Our Chinese suppliers occasionally miss deliveries Some Americans are only interested in work …
  16. 16. 16 The Open Circle Cultural Tendencies Some of the Japanese in my team are very indecisive Our Chinese suppliers occasionally miss deliveries Some Americans are only interested in work…
  17. 17. INDIVIDUAL CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE
  18. 18. 18 Cultural Intelligence • Being aware, and • being flexible enough to adapt effectively • to each new cultural situation attention adaptability knowledge
  19. 19. 19 10 Personal Attributes Cultural Intelligence 1. Confidence 2. Curiosity 3. Flexibility 4. Mindfulness 5. Objectivity 6. Perceptiveness 7. Resilience 8. Restraint 9. Risk-taking 10. Tolerance for ambiguity
  20. 20. 20 Key Message Our Challenge Switching off cultural autopilot
  21. 21. 21 Key Message Our Challenge Switching off cultural autopilot Our Solution Acting from informed choice not habit
  22. 22. 22 Cultural Orientations • Culture is a clue as to the way a person or group may think or respond
  23. 23. 23 Cultural Orientations • Culture is a clue as to the way a person or group may think or respond Culture A Culture B Cultural orientation
  24. 24. 24 Cultural Orientations • Culture is a clue as to the way a person or group may think or respond Culture A Culture B Cultural orientation
  25. 25. 25 Cultural Orientations • Culture is a clue as to the way a person or group may think or respond Culture A Culture B Cultural orientation
  26. 26. 26 Culture A Culture B Cultural orientation Cultural Norms •Not all people are the cultural norm More similar to the USA culture than Japan norm
  27. 27. 27 Real World reference Do I lack awareness of how culture influences my own thinking and behavior?
  28. 28. 28 Real World reference Do I lack respect for and sensitivity to cultural differences?
  29. 29. 29 Real World reference Am I unable to recognize and understand cultural differences?
  30. 30. 30 Real World reference Do I tend to become stressed and anxious in unfamiliar situations?
  31. 31. 31 Real World reference Do I rely heavily on cultural stereotypes?
  32. 32. 32 The World Through a Cultural Lens • We don’t see the world as it is, but as we are • We don’t see others as they are, but as we are Beware of using your cultural perspective in interpreting behavior; learn to interpret meaning based on the perspectives of the other cultural group.
  33. 33. 33 Cultural Levels
  34. 34. 34 Cultural Levels • SURFACE • clothes • music • food • games THOUGHTS FEELINGS THOUGHTS/ FEELINGS • value systems • customs • spirituality • religion BEHAVIOURS • language • family structure • politics
  35. 35. 35 What options do you have? Strategize • Each option is useful in different situations ADAPT I/we will make small changes to help our working together BLEND Your way and our way will complement each other CO-CREATE We’ll negotiate a common way that isn’t your way or my way but ours way DIVIDE You do it your way, we’ll do it ours. It doesn’t matter ENFORCE We have to do it this way
  36. 36. 36 Culture and Communication Take Away | Best practice •How to accommodate culture in your visual communication / presentations • Be considerate: • Use color with due thought - color has a cultural meaning, which affects interpretation • Remember that gestures and symbols are not always universal • Implicit cultures use soft communication: polite and indirect, visual and aesthetic • Greeting from the company • Use of indirect words • Humility in philosophy and corporate information • Images and pictures reflecting politeness • Allow silences for reflection time • Explicit cultures use hard communication: direct and to the point, information rich, described by superlatives • Emphasis on facts/ features
  37. 37. 37 Written Communication Take Away | Best practice •How to write clearly and unambiguously • Consider how a message will ‘decode’ into the recipient's mental imagery • Use rich/ lean language and social/ cultural contexts – but avoid using very ‘local’ references • Choose your words/ symbols carefully to ensure clarity • Be aware of how you say things - speed/ mood/ tone – to ensure that your words are not misinterpreted • Be precise – avoid unclear analogies and metaphors
  38. 38. 38 My top ten tips Cultural intelligence • Assume differences until similarity is proven • Understand your own cultural orientations and those of others • Gain cultural knowledge – customs, beliefs, history, etc. • Focus on relating to individuals rather than cultural stereotypes • Listen and observe, think, and then talk • Focus on creating value out of differences rather avoiding mistakes • Be aware of the virtual context: you can easily forget culture when someone is out of sight • Come off cultural auto pilot – stay in the here and now • Stay curious (not furious) about culture..enjoy the journey • REMEMBER – Adapt is not adopt !
  39. 39. 39 Q & A

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